Dear fellow shareholders,
We are happy to celebrate in this issue the 50th Anniversary of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA), which was signed into law on December 18, 1971. The rescheduled Alaska Federation of Natives’ (AFN) Convention will coincide with the anniversary month, and various events will be held celebrating the anniversary. Our Elders, Board and staff have been working to share the Ahtna people’s story in relation to ANCSA, namely the ability to provide for our people by way of traditional hunting and fishing as our Elders did before us. You can read more here and here.
Throughout the pandemic, Ahtna’s Board of Directors and leadership have worked together to ensure our shareholders and villages are supported. All eligible Ahtna shareholders financially harmed by the COVID-19 pandemic had the opportunity to apply online for assistance through the Ahtna COVID Reimbursement Program. Nearly 100% of the $11.6 million in CARES Act funds Ahtna received was made available to shareholders through the program. Funds will go directly into shareholders’ hands this month when payments are distributed. We are committed to using any remaining funds to benefit shareholders and our villages. We are so appreciative of everyone’s patience while we worked to meet the increased demand on our Shareholder Services staff during the application period. The CARES funds we received must be expended before the end of the year, and our Board of Directors wanted to get payments out as soon as possible to assist our shareholders in need.
After a short period of bringing employees back to our Alaska offices this summer, we have transitioned back to remote work. With COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths on the rise in Alaska, we felt returning to remote work was the safest course. We will continue to remain flexible and adapt to changing circumstances. The limited personnel working in the offices have provided proof of vaccination and are following all safety mandates, such as wearing masks in common areas or where social distance cannot be maintained. While the offices remain closed to the public, staff is available to assist shareholders over the phone by calling the Glennallen or Anchorage front desks.
Ahtna’s Shareholder Enrichment department is passionate about inspiring our youth by broadening their awareness of the many education and career paths in front of them. Ahtna had the pleasure of hosting the Copper River Native Association’s Youth Employment Training Initiative (YETI) program in Anchorage and Glennallen this summer. The YETI program focuses on career-bound tribal members ages 14 to 24. Participants receive consistent mentorship and learn the skills that are vital to obtain and retain meaningful employment.
Our corporate and subsidiary management teams spent several hours with YETI participants explaining what Ahtna is, how it works, who we are, how we came to be, and what it took to get here. Our youth were very respectful, curious, and interested in what we shared, and they had time to ask us questions and tell us a little more about themselves. We closed by welcoming participants to stay in touch and follow up with any of us. Shareholder youth can look for this opportunity next year by visiting the CRNA website at www.crnative.org, and our Shareholder Enrichment Advocates will be available to assist with applications.
After 15 wonderful years with the Ahtna family of companies, we will be saying farewell to Vicky Dunlap, President of Ahtna Support and Training Services, LLC and Ahtna Logistics, LLC. Her resignation is effective November 1st, which will allow time to ensure a smooth transition of leadership. Vicky was instrumental in growing Ahtna’s national reach and helped define the company as an exceptional service provider. She played an active role in employee engagement at Ahtna and made it her mission to help enrich shareholders’ lives through her work, including volunteering countless hours during special events that benefited shareholders. Thank you, Vicky, for your many professional contributions to Ahtna and for having such a kind and generous heart for your coworkers and our shareholders! We wish you great success in your next endeavor!
On behalf of our Board of Directors, please take every precaution to be safe, and remain healthy and virus-free! We care about you, and you are in our prayers.
Michelle Anderson, President